She may be 95, but it seems the Queen feels too young at heart to accept the main award for “Oldie of the Year”.
The monarch believes “you are as old as you feel” and thinks she does not meet the “relevant criteria” for the trophy so has declined it, according to an aide.
Her Majesty has sent a message back to the organisers of the prizes with her “warmest best wishes”, and saying she “hopes you will find a more worthy recipient”.
The awards chairman, author and broadcaster Gyles Brandreth, had written to her private secretary Sir Edward Young to ask if she would accept the accolade.
But in a letter published in the November issue of the Oldie magazine, her assistant private secretary Tom Laing-Baker wrote: “Her Majesty believes you are as old as you feel, as such The Queen does not believe she meets the relevant criteria to be able to accept, and hopes you will find a more worthy recipient.”
A decade ago, her late husband Prince Philip, who died in April aged 99, was named “Oldie of the Year” but he turned down the opportunity to pick up the prize, saying: “I regret not being able to receive the award in person, but I will not be conveniently in reach of London at the time.”
Previous award recipients have included a range of people from Oscar winners to Nobel laureates, from community care nurses to veteran athletes, from Sir John Major to Dame Olivia de Havilland and David Hockney.
The Queen is the nation’s longest reigning monarch and is due to celebrate her Platinum Jubilee – 70 years on the throne – next year.
She continues to keep a busy diary of events and audiences, and deals with her daily red boxes of official papers.
On Tuesday, she is hosting a Windsor Castle reception for international business and investment leaders to mark the Global Investment Summit.
And last week, she said she was irritated by the lack of progress on climate issues ahead of the COP26 climate change summit in Glasgow.
Her daughter-in-law, the Duchess of Cornwall, joined Brandreth for the publication’s first in-person awards ceremony since 2019 at The Savoy hotel in London.
“Long live The Queen! Perhaps in the future we will sound out Her Majesty once more,” Brandreth wrote on the magazine’s website.